As young men we learn about this terrible thing that has entire power over us. Sex. We learn from a very young age that we really can’t help it. We just really, really like sex. We’re told this within our own households, our schools, and society in general with TV and Movies showing it as our form of Kryptonite. Then we’re told we have nothing to worry about. Sex is great! We’re told that we have no control over it, it’s the greatest thing ever, and it’s our God given right. It’s our given right whether we’re jocks and popular, or we’re ‘geeks’ and not. It’s our right when we’re not nice, because every girl likes a bad guy. And it’s our right when we’re nice, because by going against our nature and not demanding sex we have earned sex.
So it makes absolutely no sense for us that when a male is caught having ‘sex’ with a passed out female behind a dumpster we call it rape, and we say rape is about power not sex.
How does that make sense though? If we are told that we can’t control ourselves and it’s our God given right then how can it not be about Sex? It’s sex. I have an urge. You can help with that urge. One plus One equals two and there we go. It doesn’t matter if you’re passed out. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child. It doesn’t matter if you’re male. You’re just helping out. You’re doing the world a favor by allowing another to meet their needs.
Even when we disagree with the tactics involved in hunting prey, we mostly agree that it is a matter of self control to something that we can not control and is our birthright. Rape is just sex without consent. It’s not about power.
And yet, that’s what keeps coming up. Rape is never about Sex, it’s about Power. Which MUST mean that if someone needs to get off, and they want sex then whether there’s consent or not it can not be rape. Because if rape is about power and I am not after power then I can have sex with anyone and anything I want to at any time. So thousands, if not millions convinced themselves that it was never Rape. She just changed her mind. He wanted it. They needed it. Nothing else matters.
Horny=sex, and since rape is about power, and this was sex, then this is not rape.
Same with child sexual assault. Horny=Sex. We blame any kind of child molestation on pedophilia, something we view as twisted and unethical, but sexual in nature. Rape cannot exist without sex, and only then will a concept of rape barely register. Because rape is about changing your mind. It is not about power.
Everything I’ve said so far is entirely outrageous, and yet according to mainstream society is entirely true. Those are things we teach our males consciously and unconsciously. Those are our trains of thoughts, consciously or unconsciously, when we hear of rape. Why else have we not taken a stand against this epidemic that affects hundreds of thousands every year?
The problem with the statement that Rape is about power is not that it's untrue. No, this statement is as true as can be, and yet it can be used as a double edged sword to actually justify and acquit rapists.
I have been an advocate for nearly five years now. I have always been against rape, but for years I was not an advocate. I was against rape but I was not anti-rape like the majority of individuals on this planet. When asked to stand up against it, even by showing up to events to support I would have said no, the stigma and my own uncontrolled biases setting barriers in my path. But five years ago, I stumbled onto Take Back the Night on my campus, and I could no longer allow shame to stand in my way.
Since then, the greatest argument I have had to fend off is that ‘rape does not in fact exist’. Rape is females getting drunk in 'frat' parties, and changing their minds later.
The simple idea that a woman, under the influence can be raped, could not be comprehended, and if it could it was because she was asking for it, dressed in a slutty manner that made it impossible for him to resist, because you see he 'needed' to have sex. Thus if we are to classify this as rape, then it was about sex, it could not have been about power.
But, the nature of power in rape is not in holding someone down, bruising their wrists, their throat and any other part of their body that you deem yours. The power is not in tying someone down and beating them, one whip at a time. No, the nature of power within rape is far more dangerous, for the nature of power in rape lies all around us, in the Patriarchal society we call home.
Patriarchy, allows men to act out in violence and abuse, emotional, psychological and sexual, against women and those society has taught us through patriarchy that men need to have control over. When a man rapes a woman, it is not violence just towards her body but an act of violence against the female identity. It is an act of men celebrating their control over the female body and self. Rape is about two things, power and violence, and there’s no shortage of male violence perpetrated against women.
You're probably wondering what about children? Easy, the psychology of Patriarchy allows you to enforce your manhood against anything that may challenge it. This is why fathers are distant from their sons, because they must prove that they are in fact the men of the house, the only heads of the household. Raping a child is as much an act of power as physical abuse, or emotional and psychological terrorism, extremely common practices within our homes.
As for men being raped by women does it not make sense that there are women that have bought into patriarchy just as much as misogynistic men? The entirety of white feminism seeks to gain the same rights as white Patriarchal men. And just so you know you don’t need to be white or female to follow white feminism. A true feminist seeks to unravel the webs that patriarchy has constructed around all of us. Feminism seeks to liberate men emotionally as much as it does to liberate women. It is not a matter of power, or control.
Rape is about power. Rape is an act of violence with or without the bruises. Rape is a consequence of Patriarchy. Patriarchy that each and every single one of us has held at one point or another, and many continue to uphold it with every single breath they take.
To stand against rape, is to stand against Patriarchy, yet at sexual assault awareness events you rarely hear the word. Most, don't even know of its existence. But rape is fueled almost entirely by it. Without ending the views we have towards women we will not live in a world where we are all anti-rape and rape is entirely unacceptable.
Many will argue that these forms of violence occur because we’re not teaching our children better. We don’t have the capacity to have these conversations when they really matter. And I absolutely agree with that. This kind of education starts at home, and should be continued in schools and everywhere else after that. But ask yourself why has that not become a reality? Why do we still victim blame and assume there is no real problem? Why is it that many still consider consent an optional thing?
We need to start having these conversations everywhere we are, but I believe we also need to understand that even when we have these conversations there are tens of thousands of messages that men and women hear everyday to uphold patriarchy.
You don’t have to believe me, but ask yourself, what is rape about? Is it about power, or is it about sex? If it’s about power then what does that mean? When the majority of males that are committing this are seeing it as ‘20 minutes of action’ then what is it really about?
Ladies and gentlemen we’re in the middle of an epidemic. Imagine if we were seeing these numbers with Ebola or the Swine flu. You’d never let your kids out of the house. You wouldn’t get out of the house. I’m not saying let's lock our kids up and never leave our houses, but it’s about time we truly comprehend what these numbers mean. Every 107 seconds a rape occurs! 1 in 4 women will be raped during her time in college! Yeah, it’s truly not pleasant to think about.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Co-Founder and Director of Mental Health for MCL, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, a Novelist and the founder and editor of Life in My Days. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events.